Density Perspectives

Greater Tokyo Area, the world's most populous ...

What beauty w/many?

There are various types of thinking that are at odds with one another. Well, actually, one type is not at odds; they are not just concerning themselves with other people’s personal choices. Many people want to live a certain lifestyle. Other people think that lifestyle should be a certain way, even though the claim is to have many choices, supposedly available all of the time. In making choices, there are trade-offs. This paper examines the various trade-offs, with the pros & cons of the concentration of living. The foci for one point of view are analyzed, and what that entails. The importances of those foci are examined, acknowledging that people have different tastes, desires and priorities. The ramifications of certain choices are analyzed

Everybody obviously needs a place to live, and wants a type of environment that meets their needs and wants. There should be a common goal of building. However, some people think that people should only live in a certain type of structure and form of development. Approval is needed for almost everything. This goes much beyond health and safety. The welfare of some is ignored for the supposed welfare of others, who it does not even concern.

Most people live in an urban area. The people who do, hardly even know of non-urban areas, yet lust after them. Sometimes, people don’t even realize that there is so much non-urban space out there. There is an effort to prevent more urbanization. Many people have decided that their urban area is large enough, geographically, and that to accommodate newcomers, they should stay within the current boundaries.

There are clashes of ideas in how urban areas should be laid out. One point of view is that people should live in high density. This group or type of thinking, goes under various types of names, such as new urbanism (based on old ideas), smart growth, transit-orientation, or just anti-sprawl. Herein after, that type of thinking will be referred to as the HDC (high-density coalition) , for ease of communication. The other point of view isn’t really organized into groups, but relies more on freedom, personal choice and the marketplace. That lack of organization into a group is consistent with its type or free-flow and organic-ness, such as being laissez-faire or another economic principle of spontaneous order. Developers represent that type of thinking in building what people want. That type of thinking does not imply anarchy or the lack of need for some public goods (roads, schools libraries, police fire, etc.). Each school of thought can be agreed upon having common goals of people having some degree of choice, living in a nice environment and just plain being happy (quality of life). How those goals are to be achieved is where the points of view diverge. The HDC (high-density coalition)  can be considered to focus on 2 specific areas: transportation and limited land use.

To achieve the goal of more mass transit and limited land use, high density is needed. Various levels of densities have certain positives and negatives, and associated costs. Accentuating the positive and minimizing the negative is a good healthy strategy. However, sometimes in looking at positives, they can be over-stated, and certain extra costs can be ignored. Negative consequences can also be ignored. No urban area can be considered to be ideal. For those that are really “nice,” the cost of housing will be higher and that reduces its overall “niceness.” In fact, there are many urban areas with a high cost of living, that aren’t even exceptionally great.

In analyzing urban areas, numerous sets of data can be looked at to see the effectiveness of various urban layouts. In looking over statistics, I try to see the big picture, look at trends, and include full sets or continuous sets (ie top 20), rather than pick and choose certain examples to make a point, as some people are accused of, such as O’toole, Gordon & Cox. My intention is to analyze data and come to conclusions, rather than set a goal and gather data, while ignoring some, to support it. Of course my basic conclusion is known, from my own previous analysis, but I still try to look at all viewpoints. Originally, many years ago, I didn’t have a set goal, especially growing up in Chicago.


About Randall
A contrarian, not for conflict, but because many decisions are made, without considering the full impact & consequences.

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